Donald Trump has sent an impassioned letter to Roman Catholic leaders asking for their support and reiterating his support of pro-life and religious liberty platforms while tearing into Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine for opposing them.
In the pitch to the Catholic Leadership Conference, the Republican presidential candidate calls American Catholics "a rich part" of the nation's history.
"I have a message for Catholics: I will be there for you. I will stand with you. I will fight for you," Trump writes.
"The United States was, and is, strengthened through Catholic men, women, priests and religious Sisters, ministering to people, marching in the Civil Rights movement, educating millions of children in Catholic schools, creating respected health care institutions, and in their founding and helping the ongoing growth of the pro-life cause."
Trump argues that Clinton and her vice-presidential running mate Kaine are working against Catholic ideals.
"As First Lady, U.S. Senator, Secretary of State, and two-time presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton has been hostile to the core issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics: life, religious liberty, Supreme Court nominations, affordable and quality healthcare, educational choice and home schooling," he says.
"Hillary Clinton supports forcing The Little Sisters of the Poor who have taken care of the elderly poor since 1839, pay for contraceptives in their health care plan (even though they have never wanted them, never used them and never will), and having the government fine them heavily if they continue to refuse to abide by this onerous mandate."
Trump branded it "a hostility to religious liberty" American Catholics will "never see" if he is elected president.
"Hillary Clinton’s hostility to the issues of greatest importance to Catholics is made worse by her running mate Senator Tim Kaine. Once pro-life and against partial birth abortion, Kaine now has a 100% voting record from the National Abortion Rights Action League," Trump said.
Kaine once was for traditional marriage, even saying ‘it is a uniquely valuable institution that must be preserved’, but as of 2013, Kaine no longer supported traditional marriage.
"And on religious liberty? Shockingly, even Kaine supports forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraceptives in their health care plan, and to have the government fine them heavily if they refuse."
Trump said that on "issues and policies of greatest concern to Catholics," the differences are "stark" between himself and Clinton.
"On life, I am, and will remain, pro-life. I will defend your religious liberties and the right to fully and freely practice your religion, as individuals, business owners and academic institutions," he said.
I will help Catholic families and workers, and all families and workers, by bringing jobs back to our country where they belong.
"And I will appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will strictly interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench, like Justice Clarence Thomas and the late and beloved great Catholic thinker and jurist, Justice Antonin Scalia."
Trump's letter was addressed to the 18th Annual Catholic Leadership Conference, which was held in Denver this week.
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